Category Archives: Nordic/Ski Walking

Picking up speed

A new way to donate… AND A VIDEO!

Our attempt on The Grim Challenge for CANCER RESEARCH UK using a more extreme variant Nordic Walking is going pretty well. Sure we’d like to see more sponsors and donations, but it’s early days and we’re both training to make sure we don’t let anyone down.

I’ve added a method to make donating really easy now. You just need to use your mobile phone and text STIX99 and a donation amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070.

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Meanwhile, along with cardio and endurance training, I’ve thrown together a little video to promote our challenge. It’s only a first attempt and I plan to make another (more?) as time goes on.

It is for Cancer Research UK, although they support the worldwide fight against cancer and are simply based in the UK, so to everyone out there, where ever you are, please do donate and share this page. It’s for a very good cause after all.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR ‘JUST GIVING’ CHARITY PAGE

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A FIRST for team STIX & STONES

It’s official…

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As a challenge to get me fit again after injuries (ankle, back, and recently cellulitis in the elbow – yay me!), me and my physical trainer cousin Wendy are going to be taking part in the Grim Challenge at the very end of November.

woo

The Woo: Tougher than the Grim Challenge itself.

me

The Return of the Black: What doesn’t kill me better be able to outrun me…

Dirt, rocky roads, gravel, mud, man made mounds, obstacles, water holes, more mud, more hills, ditches, more muddy wet holes… 8 miles of tough challenge. She’s not used to the Nordic style which I really enjoy, and I’m not used to straight running… Hopefully we’ll learn the right things from each other…

We’re doing it for Cancer Research UK, and just to make it interesting we thought we’d attempt to do it using Nordic X-country poles.

Like it wasn’t going to be tough enough in the first place…

The thing is, the Grim is technically a run, although some folk do end up walking as it is a very tough course. We didn’t know if actually starting out ‘walking‘ was going to be a problem (albeit Nordic Walking, which is a different ball park to hiking or normal walking – especially how I do it…).

The organiser is not in favour of people who turn up just to walk the route… but in the organiser’s own words when I suggested about us using Nordic X-Country poles: “… I know all about Nordic walking and suspect you guys are not the strolling type!”

Team Stix & Stones

Team Stix & Stones.

Our TEAM PAGE is STIX & STONES – (Stix due to the poles and x-country, and stones, because it’s both off-road, and you need figuratively two of them to do the challenge…). Please visit it to make donations.

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It turns out that we are officially the first people to attempt the Grim Challenge using the Nordic method. I wonder why?

Course (taken from the Grim web page):

This land is used to test Army vehicles so expect it to be interesting!

You will reach a long hill shortly after the start before descending again eventually reaching a water filled ravine.

You will run on over puddle-strewn paths before having to crawl under camouflage netting.

You’ll eventually reach some man-made mounds before arriving at and running through some rather large puddles.

Expect to get very wet!

You’ll run on to the fast vehicle driving circuit where it is rocky underfoot.

This brings you to some more large areas of water and the finish area.

Sounds delightful!


Why do I train?

For those I train with – Why I do it… (from 2008): Fitness Starts HERE 2008

Almost immediately after I started getting into this keeping healthy lark I ended up with a work related (badly) screwed back, which I used Nordic Walking to recover from… only to then get hit by a severe infection (leaving me asthmatic on top of the lung problems I already have) and the feral cat attack (through which I met John Devaney…. bloody cat).

Each set back just makes me want to come back harder, but each time I find it physically tougher, although that won’t stop me trying… Next step, KICKBOXING!!!!

I already go to a boxing class run by SMA, where the positive attitude of everyone really helps push me. I’ve never been good at fast, hard training (lungs again…), but if I am to fix that problem (and the dodgy wrist left over from the feral attack), then this class is really a kill or cure. It’s a tough class, no word of a lie!

I’m now going to go to the kickboxing class that SMA run. This should help me with stability, coordination and even more fitness/health issues… Kill or Cure, Kill or Cure!

I will be ready to take on that Arctic Survival for my 40th….

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Duck down

For the first time since I was released from hospital (FOR THIS) I went for a walk with Chris, her Mum and Alex. The last few walks I had been on I noticed about 21 Swans on the lake – by the looks of it 3 generations.

I had to keep my arm elevated still, but that didn’t stop me getting into the thick of the action with the birds. Yes, they aren’t the tamest and friendliest of creatures, but I’ve known them for a few generations now (likewise, they know me). I wouldn’t suggest you go up to swans in this way…

These swans were happy enough feeding around me – even the various geese breeds that showed up were in good spirits. The younger ones were a bit over zealous, but in a gentle way.

One young swan wanted my attention from behind where I was crouched down, and to do this it stretched around me and gently pecked my cheek – very gently…. I turned around and he just stood there expectantly for some bread. He came over as I put bread down and let me stoke his back and wings… then a few others came over for more of the same.

Even after I ran out of food, these birds were quite content to just hang out around where I sat…. so I got my iPhone out and recorded them. You can see how close they were – even the Canadian goose pecking around my feet…

As for the cat bite – I shaved my arm so I could keep check on what is happening. The tendons still ache and the swell is still very painful. The redness of the infection has reduced, but the reduction has slowed – If it doesn’t keep reducing, then I’m still likely to have my arm cut open and flushed.


Uncanny…

So regulars will know I am looking into taking my Nordic Walking to the next level.

Nordic skiing on snow in the UK is a bit tricky, mainly due to the general lack of snow, but you can buy roller-ski’s that emulate the same characteristics of the various types of skiing.

Now, before I go off and buy a set I want to make sure I can get on with roller ski’s, so I contacted a UK based Nordic/Cross Country ski organisation: Rollerski, where I spoke to Iain Ballentine, who in turn pointed me to the London Region Nordic Ski Club and a chap called Paddy Fields (the Chairman).

It turns that Paddy Fields lives in the next toen to me, they practice weekly in my town, and they used to practice around the lake where I do my Nordic walking, so he knows exactly the terrain I’ll be skiing on.

Funny how these things work out.

I’ll be meeting up with him soon to give roller skiing a go, and then seeing where that leads (to more skiing I hope… or hospital!).


Splitter

TWA2LB.CO.UK is back – and this time it’s all about the health and fitness baby!

Yup, for those who follow me for the action, health and fitness things I do (ha!) I will be splitting off certain blog entries and putting them on TWA2LB without all the other stuff I talk about.

It’ll ALL still be here, but TWA2LB will just focus certain aspects.

Is there a demand…. well, I wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t.


Enough already

Okay, a while back Chris brought me a free fall parachute jump experience as a birthday present.

I didn’t ever want to bungee jump – I see no point.. sure it’s a rush, but you don’t do anything yourself… You jump, bungy stops you. With a free fall parachute jump you jump, you free fall, you pull the cord, you fly the chute. With bungee jumping you just jump… that thrills me as much as a roller coaster… too tame, too controlled. If you’re going to do something, do it properly.

It was one of those life affirming things… at 15 odd thousand feet you look down and it’s all down to you to step out of that doorway… and you do it… one of the most phenomenal experiences ever, and one I shall never forget.

I felt so alive – and yes, it was in controlled conditions, but things can (and did) go wrong.

Well, since I have been hit with this lung problem I am determined to not take the hit – I want to go and do something amazing. I want it to be something I could share later with Alex – I want it to be an experience and a lesson.

I’ve always been pretty good when situations get ropey. When people lose their heads in dire situations I tend to cement into a calmer person. Odd that – situations I would think I’d panic in and I actually become very focused.

So, I’m taking the step and will be booking on on a survival week. I’m looking at some course run by ex-SAS instructors. After all, the two Para’s who instructed my freefall learnt all they knew as a matter of life and death – and the same with the SAS guys. If anyone can put on a good course, it’ll be those that have had to survive in extreme conditions themselves.

These are good skills to learn, and something I can pass down to Alex.

I see 2 and 3 day courses available, but I want to go as long as I can in one go. No point in just messing about, so I’m going to go for a weeks survival – Instructor, a small tobacco tin box of essentials and me… something like that anyway.

Once I’ve done this course (hopefully mid 2010… maybe even do it as a fund raiser), there are other course available as you become more experienced. The one I am aiming for after the woodland survival week, is the Arctic Survival course. Yup… off to the Arctic to rough it…. build your own shelter, make fire, find food… no gas stoves or tents… proper survival.

It’s my way of kicking back at the set backs that my health has caused me… I get knocked down and I’ll fight back twice as hard.

I’m not one for holidays. Sure they are relaxing, but at the end of it, you’ve just been away, la de da… I’d rather go and do something – have an adventure… learn a skill and see things few other people have seen.

Who’s up for joining me? Next time it snows we’ll just point and laugh at the people who think it’s “really cold…..”

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Kane unable, stubble and watery visions

Not a great deal to blog about at the moment…well, lots of “bitsy” stuff.

Firstly, I shall take this blogatunity to wish Jon Kane a very happy birthday. A great chap who among other things has opened up a few more computing and net options to me – all giddyingly exciting stuff! (honest!). His blog can be found in my links to the left (his blog is called “Writersbloc”).

Why is there not much going on? Well it’s my back. Getting better in leaps and bounds (not actual leaps and bounds, as that would really hurt still!). The main problem is sitting and twisting. I have reduced upper mobility and am not able to drive – even if I could sit long enough! As it is, I can passenger in a car (with only slight pain) for about the same distance I can easily walk… so I walk (much better for me and Mother Earth!).

The Leki “Speed Pacer Vario” Nordic poles are getting a fair bit of mileage, and it’s getting me in shape. If ever I get a serious injury or illness, I do my best during and post recovery to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In the case of my back, as it gets better I shall do all I can to make it better than before because I don’t want to be in this situation again.

The side effects of the bad back have been benefical – although the same results would have been obtained without a bad back! The physio and Nordic Walking are giving me cardio and fat burning exercise which has resulted in me reducing my waist line by an easy 5 inches! Yup, that much!

Over 10kg lighter and getting trimmer to go along with that weight loss – at least that’s a good thing! It’s also less weight for my back to carry – hurrah! That’s what I mean about being better than before: I am strengthening my back, but also reducing load on it. I’m not going to have this injury happen again.

I’m glad the lake is so near though, as a good view really helps with making a long walk that bit more enjoyable.

It may have been a blog entry of bits and pieces, but it does come around on itself…. You see Jon introduced me to WordPress as a blog host, and also pointed me at Twitter. He also gave Will King some internettery ideas (www.shaveforum.com), of which I play a part (I admin and/or moderate a few web spaces in my spare time). I met Will through sharing feedback about his Azor – which in turn lead to me being introduced to Jon. The King of Shaves site and my new blog home, along with my need for a new phone, lead me to the iPhone (good for web admin and blogging on the go). The iPhone in turn has kept me relativly sane during my recovery as I can use it without having to sit at a computer (I am horizontal as I write this!).. General surfing lead me to Green Tea which has been very benefical, and it also lead me to Nordic Walking and more sanity saving freedom with the ability to go for a walk…and in turn getting my blog followers 10% discount at “The Tortoise and the Hare” sports store (see top left for details).

So it’s all interlinked in a gumbo of bits and bobs. All things that if they hadn’t of happened would have me not blogging, not walking, and going insane with lack of mobility and some form of mental and physical respite from my bad back!

It’s a strange wave we surf when the butterfly flaps its wings…

“Happy Birthday” Jon!


Pontoon boats and puddles

We went out for a family walk today. I was on my Nordic Poles and Chris had the push chair for Alex.

We took in Starve Hill airstrip (Hawley airstrip), the car bin and exercise house out the back end of Gibraltar barracks. It was a slow walk, but we covered 10km, and Alex walked a great deal of that.

As usual, puddles were top priority for Alex. Some puddles caught him off guard as they were deeper than he was expecting! Boots and waterproof trousers held up well for him though… Luckily!

As we passed the lake on the way back home, we saw the Army out on the water practicing with pontoon boats, or at least that’s what they looked like. Whatever they were, they sounded like they had powerful motors.


Flipper time

Rain.

Lots of it. The lake was close to flooding in places.

Finally a break in the weather and a chance to get my LEKI poles out and get some freedom from my back. I’m still suffering from the sneeze the other day – so Nordic Walking is freeing it all up…again.

A new route took me past some army training grounds and rifle range. All very busy around the area with gun fire and explosions. I found an area of derelict houses and tied up old cars – very odd, but an interesting site.

Along the way I also found an old concrete bridge. Strange to find something like this in the middle of nowhere, but that’s what makes walks around MOD land interesting!

Carrying on I came across an interesting tree root (well, I thought it looked cool!), and a track that opened out onto a huge open area of marsh/ferns. Each walk opens up new areas to head off to – which really helps in keeping my sanity at the moment!

Back home Alex proves a point from a previous blog post! (Picky, but easy post) He loves his real looking toy cars!


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